Focus on Immigration – Tier 2 and Post Study Work

Please note that since this article has been published immigration guidance has changed. Please see our post UK NARIC’s Visas and Nationality Service launches on 6 April which contains more up-to-date information.


Focus on Immigration – Tier 2 and Post Study Work

Want to come to the UK to work?

Well there are a lot of good reasons to come …

It looks good on your CV – working in the UK will give you invaluable experience

Travel opportunities abound – London, Edinburgh, Belfast, Cardiff, Dublin, continental Europe…

Tolerant multi-cultural society – the UK is one of the most tolerant and multi-cultural countries in the world.

Great history and character – Shakespeare, Churchill, Sir Isaac Newton, Brontë sisters, John Lennon, the Beatles, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, the Royal Family; the list goes on and on and on…

Events and entertainment – the 2012 Olympics, Glastonbury, the Proms, Wimbledon, Premiership football,  the Lake District, the Highlands, the Welsh Valleys, Giant’s Causeway…

So, in short, it will help your career and you’ll have a great time!

If you do want to come to and work in the UK, and you are from outside the EU, you’ll need to apply through the Points Based System for immigration.  The main route for workers is Tier 2, the Skilled Worker route.

Tier 2 – Skilled Worker*

Migrants applying under this tier must have been offered a job in the UK and have a sponsor before an application can be made.

Sponsors are the organisations that are going to employ migrants.  There are particular responsibilities that the sponsor must adhere to and employers wishing to bring individuals in from outside the EU and they must register with UK BA before they can bring migrants to the UK.

In order to be successful in this route the migrant must score a minimum of 70 points.

There are four categories in which a skilled worker can apply for Tier 2;

  1. General – if a migrant has an offer of a skilled job that cannot be filled by a settled worker. This category includes applicant coming to fill shortage occupations.
  2. Intra- Company Transfer – if a migrant is an employee of a multi-national company and are being transferred to a UK based branch of the same organisation, long or short term or frequent short visits
  3. Sportsperson – if a migrant is an elite sportsperson or coach.
  4. Ministers of Religion – if a migrant is a Minster of Religion undertaking preaching and pastoral work, Missionary or Member of a Religious order, taking up employment or a post/role within your faith community in the UK.

In addition there are points awarded for the migrant’s proficiency in English and their ability to support themselves and their dependents.

English Language (10 points)

Migrants can claim 10 points if they are from a majority English language speaking country; or they have achieved the appropriate grade in an approved English Language Test; or they have an English Language Assessment from UK NARIC.

If these criteria are not met then no points can be awarded.

Maintenance Funds (10 points)

You will score 10 points if you have £800 available in your bank account.  If there are insufficient funds no points can be awarded.

General (50 points)*

A limit of 20,700 visas per year is available through this route, with a set amount available each month.  So far this year the month limit has not been reached.

In order to be successful in a route a migrant must score 50 for Attributes, 10 points for English language and 10 points for having the necessary maintenance funds.

Attributes (50 points)

This section comprises two parts;

1.     Meeting one of the following criteria (30 points)

  • Shortage occupation (as defined by the Migration Advisory Committee)
  • Job offer with a salary of £150,000 or more
  • Completion of a resident labour market test by the Sponsor
  • Post Study Work
  • Extension – Continuing to work in same job for the same Sponsor

2.     Earning an appropriate salary, in the region of £20,000 a year (20 points).

If however a migrant is applying under the following routes, additional points will be awarded.

Minister of religion (50 points)*

Migrants can claim 50 points for their Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) in this category.   They must provide an official, signed letter from the sponsor with the application.  This letter must give an outline of duties, details of remuneration and an explanation of how the role passes the resident labour market test.

Migrants will also need to pass the English language and maintenance criteria.

Sportsperson (50 points)*

There are 50 points available through this route.  They are all awarded for a CoS, but it must be accompanied by an endorsement from the appropriate governing body for the sport and confirm that the individual is internationally established and that they will make a significant contribution to the development of the sport at the highest level in the UK.

English language and maintenance requirement must also be met.

Intra company transfer (50 points)*

Once again there are 50 points available to a migrant through this route; 30 points for a CoS and 20 points for appropriate salary (Between £40,000 and £24,000 pa).

In addition, those using this route will need to meet the necessary criteria for English language and maintenance.

Shortage Occupations and the Migration Advisory Committee*

Under Tier 2 (General) migrants can claim 30 points if the job is on the Shortage Occupation List.  If an occupation is on this list, it means there are not enough resident workers to fill the available jobs in that particular occupation. If a migrant comes to the UK to do skilled work that is on the shortage occupation list, they will get all the points they need to apply (except the points for English language and maintenance).

The Shortage Occupation List is compiled by the Migration Advisory Committee which made up by independent economists and it advises the government on migration issues.

Post Study Work*

From April 2012 the Post Study Work visa route through Tier 1 will close.  This route was available to those who had studied at a UK university or college and were looking for work in the UK.

The new scheme will be managed through Tier 2.  It is going to be very similar to the Tier 2 (General) route outlined above, but the main difference is that the employer (Sponsor) will not have to pass the resident labour market test.  This will make It easier for the newly graduated student and the Sponsor.

Make sure you check the UK BA website to ensure that you are up-to-date with the latest developments for Post Study Work

Other Routes*

The other routes for those wishing to work in the UK are Tiers 1 and 5; we will be covering these in future blogs.

Tim Buttress, December 2011


*Please check the Home Office website to ensure that you have the most up-to-date information.

19 Thoughts

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  3. Tier 2 Visas, Tier 2 Visa – Global Migrate

    This section explains how you can come to the UK or remain here as an intra-company transferee under Tier 2 Visas of our points-based system.

    Tier 2 Visas, Tier 2 Visa

  4. Please help me. I am going to apply for UK Visa Tier 2 (minister of religion). I am from Indonesia and I have a bachelor degree (G.P.A 3,69) and am being taught in English. I graduated from Universitas Atma Jaya Jakarta (One of the high-quality University in Indonesia)

    May I please have a confirmation if my degree can/cannot be counted as points?

    I have contacted the UKBA in Indonesia, they said that they are not able to assess, and they conveyed my request to the embassy. They have not replied yet for 6 days. The VFS in Indonesia said that the best way is just to submit my application and documents, while my sponsor is only giving me one chance to apply and they will not send their sponsorship unless they are sure that I will be accepted for my English language.

    I really do not know where to ask in my country. I would be pleased to send you an attachment of my certificate. Please help me.


    I also have references:

  5. I currently reside in South Africa and have qualifications here as a architectural draughtsmen and Autocad 2d,3d operator.My question to you is, As a person who holds both a EU and South African passport how would I get my qualifications compared?

    1. Of course we can help! If the award is from overseas and represents a national level within the qualification framework of that country, then the very essence of our work is to assist in the recognition process. UK NARIC is the first step in the recognition process so whilst it’s true that we’re not directly involved in granting QTS or visas, we are here to provide that initial assessment so that individuals can use their awards here in the UK in order to enter professional employment, higher education or apply for visas.

  6. I have completed my MBA at Edge Hill University in Liverpool. Now I am applying for Tier 2 under Management Accounts job title. UKBA is asking qualified for this post. Now I need to know whether I could apply for this post with my MBA qualification. Need a reply at your earliest.


    1. Hi Sureshkumar, thanks for the query. As you have a UK award, we would not be able to provide assessment as it is automatically recognised here- I recommend you contact the Home Office directly for their advice. I hope this helps. Best regards, UK NARIC

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